Faith-based symposium begins with rain forest

A new symposium, "Awakening the Dreamer: Changing the Dream," is coming to Sequim.

The one-day event on April 25 is based on the efforts of the Pachamama Alliance, formed after the Achuar, a tribe indigenous to the Amazon region of Ecuador, requested a partnership with the modern world to protect the rain forest.

The Pachamama Alliance has two missions:

• Preserving the Earth's tropical rain forests by empowering indigenous people

• Creating a new global vision of equity and sustainability for all.

The concept "Changing the dream" comes from the indigenous tribes. They want to send the message that developed countries' dreams of prosperity and wealth should change because they can cause mass consumption and waste, leading to the destruction of rain forests.

The alliance is holding symposiums for communities to share an open dialogue about their dreams and strategies for change.

Local event coordinator Judy Croonquist saw a DVD about the alliance's efforts and wanted to help Sequim and the Olympic Peninsula make an environmental impact locally and globally.

She helped form the North Olympic Creation Care Alliance, a faith-based group with members from Sequim, Port Angeles and Port Townsend, including five Christian churches and one Jewish synagogue.

The congregations are Trinity United Methodist Church and St. Luke's Episcopal Church, both in

Sequim; St. Andrew's Episcopal Church and First United Methodist Church, both in Port Angeles; St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Port Townsend; and the Jewish Congregation of Olympic B'nai Shalom of Agnew.

Their first event has been a year in the making.

"We stepped up because many faith-based groups weren't speaking up about issues like this," said event volunteer Pat Gritman.

The group accepts people of all faiths, and members hope their efforts will bring more faith-based groups to tackle environmental issues.

"Our faith calls us to care for the Earth," said Pat Milliren, another event volunteer.

"Awakening the Dream" will be led by four speakers: the Rev. Mary Brown, a trained symposium presenter; David Ketter, science teacher at Sequim High School; Steve Motenko, a certified facilitator with the Pachamama Alliance; and Paula Swedeen, an environmentalist from Olympia.

"We are all interested in what we can do locally to help the environment," Gritman said.

"This symposium is a perfect way to do something about it."

Croonquist said the symposium should provoke three actions for humans' presence on Earth: environmental sustainability, spiritual fulfillment and social justice.

"Hopefully, it will reinvent our way of thinking here," said the Rev. Bob Rhoads of St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

"It also should help people understand the global issue," Croonquist said.

Matthew Nash can be reached at

What, when, where

Awakening the Dreamer: Changing the Dream symposium

9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 25

Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave.

$20 registration due by April 21

Meal provided with local food and fair-trade coffee

Contact Judy Croonquist, 683-5367


Symposium speakers' topics

n Where are we? An examination of the state of environmental, social and personal well-being.

n How did we get here? Tracing the causes of our current imbalance.

n What's possible for the future? Discovering ways of relating with each other and the Earth, and looking at the emerging movement for change.

n Where do we go from here? Considering the stand we want to take in the world, and our personal and collective impact.

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